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Austin Trout on time, focus and improvement

Boxing
Austin Trout v Miguel Cotto
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NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 01: Austin Trout (R) throws a punch against Miguel Cotto in their WBA Super Welterweight Championship title fight at Madison Square Garden on December 1, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

By December of 2012, Austin Trout seemed on the cusp of breaking through in big-time boxing. The light middleweight had just improved to a perfect 26-0 by soundly beating one of the sport’s biggest stars, Miguel Cotto, in the Puerto Rican’s adopted home turf of Madison Square Garden.

As Trout heads into a Friday Night Fights main event contest against Daniel Dawson in Temecula, CA tonight, however, the 28 year-old sits on a two-fight losing streak and will compete for the first time in nearly nine months. After the Cotto bout, Trout lost a close fight to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, but then got blown out by Erislandy Lara last December in a fight he now admits he wasn’t ready for mentally or physically, in part due to the death of his grand mother at his wedding.

It’s been a tumultuous and trying past year and a half for Trout, but as we visit with the former champion while he waits in a doctor’s office for routine pre-fight exams and paper work to be conducted and processed, he exudes only calm and collection. A big part of that might be because he’s finally gotten some rest, of late.

“I needed time,” he says, referring to his absence from competition since his 2013 loss to Lara.

“So much was going on in my personal life for so long, that I needed time to just live. But the time has also helped me become a better fighter.”

According to Trout, his time away from competition has allowed him to train with a focus on making himself better, overall, as opposed to doing nip and tuck fixes here and there to match up against a specific opponent. “I haven’t been training for an opponent, I’ve been training to strengthen my weaknesses and become a better boxer, period,” he explains.

No longer caught up in comparing himself to the next opponent, Trout feels as though he’s been able to concentrate on beating old versions of himself. This has given him a great deal of confidence.

That confidence, perhaps, has helped him become patient and reflective beyond his years as well. After beating Cotto, the boxing world may have seemed at Trout’s feet, with big money fights, wins and a more secured future within reach.

After two straight losses, however, it could feel to him as if he has to start almost all over. The fighter does admit to being a tad frustrated at the situation, but doesn’t seem as though he allows himself to linger in that state.

“Sure, it’s been a challenge to get back to things and build back up,” he allows.

“But being with my family, and improving my skills has kept me focused.”

Trout clearly believes that he’s capable of getting back to the top. He is not, however, taking anything for granted.

“I’m taking my career one fight at a time, now,” he says.

“I believe in myself but you do it day by day and one fight at a time.”

Follow Elias on Twitter @EliasCepeda & @YahooSportsBox

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